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Interpol Launches Global Alert for Escaped Terrorists

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2006 – The International Criminal Police Organization, known as Interpol, issued a worldwide alert yesterday for 23 prison escapees, including 13 convicted al Qaeda terrorists, according to an Interpol news release.

The criminals escaped last week from a Yemen jail. They include Jamal al-Badawi, a terrorist convicted of masterminding the Oct. 12, 2000, bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, news reports said. Terrorists pulled alongside the anchored Cole and detonated an explosive-loaded boat. The blast killed 17 U.S. sailors and wounded 39 others. The two terrorists in the boat also were killed.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman today told reporters he'd seen reports about the terrorists' escape. The U.S. State Department, he said, is among the agencies involved in the matter.

"Interpol is a law enforcement-type organization," Whitman said. "Clearly, the United States government works in a collaborative way with nations across the globe."

Interpol, with headquarters in Lyon, France, has 184 participating nations, including the United States.

"Al Qaeda terrorists have been deemed a serious threat to the entire world community by the U.N. Security Council, by Interpol, and by a wide range of countries," Interpol Secretary-General Ronald K. Noble stated in his organization's news release. "Their escape cannot be considered an internal problem for Yemen, alone."

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